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Woman Sentenced To Death For Murder Of 10-Year-Old (Photos)

Woman Sentenced To Death For Murder Of 10-Year-Old (Photos) Promo Image

A Phoenix woman was sentenced to death Aug. 8 for murdering her 10-year-old cousin.

Sammantha Allen, 29, was found guilty in June of first-degree murder and four counts of child abuse, according to CBS News.

The murder took place in July 2011 when Sammantha and her husband, John Allen, locked Sammantha's cousin, Ame Deal, in a plastic storage box overnight after Ame stole an ice pop.

The storage box was outside the Allens' home, and authorities say 10-year-old Ame suffocated to death as temperatures exceeded 100 degrees.

Sammantha and John -- the latter of whom is scheduled to go on trial Oct. 9 -- initially claimed that Ame's death was an accident. They said Ame went into the box of her own accord during a game of hide-and-seek and stayed there for hours without anyone's knowledge.

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The Allens later admitted to padlocking Ame in the box.

Sammantha cried in court while the sentence was read to her.

"Lack of remorse was the biggest thing that played into it for us, that we didn't see that from Samantha throughout the whole process," juror Anne Schaad told KTVK.

Schaad added: "No one knew this was happening to Ame until she died. And I feel that there are possibly a lot more children out there that are not having a good home life that we don't know about. And that's one of the biggest things I took away from this."

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Sammantha brings the total of women on death row in Arizona to three. There are 55 women condemned to die throughout the country, compared to almost 2,800 men, according to CBS News.

It took the jury five days to decide that Sammantha should pay for Ame's death with her life.

"It definitely wasn't easy, that's for sure," juror Chuck Pritchett said.

The jury also took into consideration the prior abuse Ame was subjected to.

CBS News reports that in addition to being put in the storage box on several occasions, Ame was forced to eat dog feces, crush aluminum cans with her bare feet and consume hot sauce. She was also beaten with a wooden paddle, kicked in the face and thrown into a cold swimming pool.

"The years of abuse that she suffered and it was probably happenstance that this result didn't occur before it did," said juror Ann Opseth.

Other members of Ame's family -- including her aunt, Cynthia Stoltzmann; her grandmother, Judith Deal; and her father, David Deal -- were complicit in the abuse. Stoltzmann and David both received prison sentences after pleading guilty to attempted child abuse.

Sources: CBS News, KTVK / Featured Image: Pixabay / Embedded Images: KPHO via CBS News, Daily Mail

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